CTCOG Explains Process as It Absorbs KHA Section 8 Program Amid Challenges

Published on November 5, 2023

Killeen, TX – The Killeen Housing Authority (KHA) is facing a challenging situation marked by a federal investigation, a significant staff exodus, and severe financial issues, leaving many tenants fearful of potential eviction. In response to these issues, the KHA Board of Commissioners recently made a unanimous decision to transfer its Section 8 housing programs to the Central Texas Council of Governments (CTCOG) housing program.

This strategic move was recommended by Killeen Mayor Debbie Nash-King, who also holds a position on the Central Texas Council of Governments board. The KHA serves low-income residents in Killeen and relies on federal funding for its Section 8 program, which provides rent assistance vouchers to eligible individuals and families. The KHA currently manages and maintains 154 public housing rental units within Killeen.

Jim Reed, the executive director of CTCOG, played a pivotal role in the process and provided insights into the next steps. One of the newly appointed KHA board members, Bruce Whiteside, questioned during the meeting, “Why have the amateurs do it when we could have the pros do it?”

Reed explained the process for transferring the Section 8 program to CTCOG:

  1. October 26: The KHA Board voted to turn over the Section 8 program to CTCOG, initiating the process. However, an interlocal agreement between KHA and CTCOG is still pending.
  2. November 1: KHA began collecting all data, including payment and accounting information, from its current Section 8 client list and itemizing it for transfer to CTCOG’s housing program and financial division.
  3. Before January 1, 2024: CTCOG plans to conduct a meeting for tenants and landlords to collect rental information and hold briefings on the transition of the KHA Section 8 program to CTCOG.
  4. January 2: CTCOG’s financial division will begin making decisions on settling landlord and tenant Section 8 accounts, processing payments, and ensuring Section 8 accounts are current. From this point forward, CTCOG will handle payment processing for Section 8.
  5. July 1: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will officially transfer all funding for the Section 8 housing program to CTCOG, effectively absorbing KHA’s Section 8 program.

CTCOG, established in the late 1960s, serves as a platform for local governments to collaborate and share ideas. While it is a non-voluntary association of governments, it plays a critical role in addressing various regional issues and initiatives, including Section 8 housing programs like the one previously managed by KHA.

The KHA’s troubles originated when reports of a federal investigation and a raid on the housing authority’s offices surfaced in 2020. The Office of Inspector General within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD OIG), in collaboration with the FBI and Killeen Police Department, initiated the investigation due to alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act.

DeAdra Johnson, the former KHA executive director, detailed a morning raid on her premises, leading to her resignation. A significant staff departure followed, including the resignation of Demetria Hunt, who succeeded Johnson as the executive director.

The KHA’s Section 8 program served a diverse range of families, from single individuals to large families, each with varying rental needs. The program received federal subsidies, but it appeared that the KHA faced challenges in managing these Section 8 funds.

KHA’s financial difficulties came to light when Board Chair Ebony Jackson disclosed that the organization was nearly out of funds, with only approximately $85 in its operating budget. KHA’s online housing software for Section 8 was also disabled due to nonpayment.

One of the major issues faced by CTCOG in taking over the Section 8 program is the portability issue, where the KHA failed to promptly process Section 8 vouchers when individuals relocated, leading to financial challenges for the organization.

KHA is scheduled to hold a special board meeting to address these Section 8 issues and the transition to CTCOG. The meeting will appoint Cinda Haward as the interim executive director, discuss an interlocal agreement between KHA and CTCOG, explore insurance coverage for the closed Moss Rose Community Center, evaluate the disposition of KHA Section 8 assets, and address various legal matters.

The situation remains complex, and CTCOG, under the leadership of Jim Reed, is taking measures to ensure a smooth transition while providing housing support to those in need. Further updates will be available as the Section 8 process unfolds.

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